Tag Archives: Jan Carlson

Stoplights coming to site where fatal accidents occurred

State begins engineering work for project at Route 38, Meredith Road
by Martha Quetsch
Maple Park—Because of two fatal accidents at Route 38 and Meredith Road intersection and many crashes with injuries there, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) plans to install stoplights at the site, possibly by 2011.

IDOT program development chief Brian Carlson said Monday that the state is pursuing an aggressive schedule for the signalization project, but that what will drive its progress is the right-of-way acquisition. Land will be needed on which to install turning lanes, signal poles and possible drainage improvements.

He said following engineering and design of the project this fall, land acquisition could take 12 to 16 months. The process will include negotiating for land purchase from property owners, and if they do not agree to sell, taking ownership of the land through the federal government’s eminent domain laws.

Carlson said if all goes well, the stoplights’ construction could begin in spring of 2011.

Until early 2008, the intersection was controlled by stop signs only on both sides of Meredith. There were no stop signs on Route 38 at the intersection.

Following several accidents at the intersection in 2006 and 2007, including two fatal crashes, the state installed flashing lights on both roadways, warning approaching drivers of the intersection. In addition, in early 2008, the state installed stop signs on Route 38 at the intersection. County officials including former board member Jan Carlson of Elburn, urged the state to install those additional signs and signals.

The stoplight project will cost $1 million. It is among the state’s 2010-15 Highway Improvement Program projects, totaling more than $11 billion, announced last spring.

The local project will be funded, in part, with federal dollars the state received for safety improvements at locations where serious accidents have occurred, Carlson said.

During the next few months, IDOT engineers will do environmental screenings including wetland and drainage surveys at the Route 38 and Meredith intersection. When that and other engineering work is completed, it must be approved by the Federal Highway Administration so that the project qualifies for federal funding.

“We hope to get both done by the end of the year,” Carlson said. “Then we can commence with land acquisition for the right of way.”

Since Route 38 is an Illinois highway, the project will not involve participation from the Kane County Department of Transportation (KDOT), although county officials support the state’s installation of the stoplights as a way to improve safety at the intersection, said KDOT director Carl Schoedel.

No serious or fatal accidents have occurred since IDOT installed the stop signs on Route 38 at Meredith in January 2008. Accidents have occurred there since then, however, including one as recently as Aug. 28.

That morning, a two-car crash occurred when the driver of one of the vehicles failed to stop at the stop sign at the intersection, according to the Kane County Sheriff’s Department. A car driven by Jan Dabrowski, 77, of Florence, Colo., was westbound on Route 38 approaching Meredith Road. Another vehicle, driven by Susan Phillips, 60, of Sycamore, was southbound on Meredith Road. Phillips entered the intersection to continue south and was struck by Dabrowski, who failed to stop at the stop sign. No one was injured.

Kaneland Superintendent Charles McCormick said he has been pleased that the flashing light signals have worked well to alert drivers about the intersection. However, Kaneland School District officials support the signalization project, district transportation director Jim Ogle said.

“We are waiting for the installation,” Ogle said.

Crash history
The state plans to increase traffic control at Route 38 and Meredith Road in Virgil Township by installing four-way traffic stop lights at the intersection, which is just north of Kaneland’s high school and middle school on Meredith Road. The following accidents are among those that occurred at the intersection of Route 38 and Meredith Road in Virgil Township before the state installed stop signs on Route 38 at the site in early 2008.

• On Nov. 9, 2007, Carrie Hilliker, of Bradley, Ill., died from injuries she sustained in an accident at the intersection. She had been driving north on Meredith Road and when she entered the intersection, her vehicle was struck by another car and a semi-truck on Route 38. A passenger in Hilliker’s car was severely injured in the crash.

• On July 14, 2007, a St. Charles police officer Vaugh Olson, of Maple Park, was killed and two Elburn teen-agers were critically injured in a crash at the intersection. The teens, Melanie Carlson and Mitchell Westerlin, spent several months undergoing surgeries for and recovering from their injuries.

• On July 12, 2007, seven people were injured in a two-car collision, when a vehicle carrying three Naperville teenagers entered the intersection from Meredith Road after stopping at the stop sign. The teens’ car was hit by a vehicle traveling through the intersection on Route 38. One of the youths suffered a broken neck.

Between July 2006 and July 2007, 16 accidents took place at the intersection, with half of those involving injuries, according to the Kane County Sheriff’s Department.

Elburn deals with economic downturn

Finances in forefront in 2008

by Martha Quetsch

            The community of Elburn showed confidence on some fronts and restraint on others in 2008, reflecting optimism as well as uncertainty about the economy.
 
Smoking ban effect evident
            A new state law prohibiting smoking in businesses started Jan. 1, leaving some local restaurant and tavern owners wondering what effect it would have on them.

            For Blackberry Inn in Elburn, the smoking ban led to more food sales and less bar business this year.

            “We have had a lot of new customers who wanted to try our food for a long time but didn’t come in before because we were a smoking establishment,” manager Dawn Faber said. “But when the kitchen closes, it’s dead.”
 
Village, county officials make choices
            Also in January, Elburn trustees hired Erin Willrett as the village’s first community development director, for an annual salary of $73,000.

            “Ms. Willrett will work with developers, business owners and stakeholders to assist in implementing the Village Board’s policies on carefully managed growth,” Village Administrator David Morrison said at the time of the hiring.

            Meantime, the health of the economy was declining, with housing starts dropping, meaning less revenue for Elburn from utilities connection and building fees.

            Nevertheless, in July, the Elburn Village Board approved 4.1-percent pay raises for all village employees and even more for some staff. However, trustees Patricia Romke and Gordon Dierschow voted against the pay hikes because they were more than those received by average people in the private sector this year.

            Citing the same reason, local resident Drew Frasz, right after being appointed to the Kane County Board, voted against a similar pay raise for county employees. Frasz won in the Republican primary against incumbent Jan Carlson, who stepped down after his defeat, leaving his position open. The board appointed Frasz to fill the District 14 position in May.
 
Recreation spending decisions made
            Using money from its limited recreation fund, the Village built a new tot lot at 215 W. Shannon St. this summer, naming it after after former village police chief and longtime local public servant Wayne Byerhof. The village purchased the Byerhof Park site, formerly a residential lot, two years ago for $165,000. The village spent more than $50,000 on site preparation and playground equipment for the tot lot, the first park on the northwest side of the Elburn.

            During October, the Village Board also tabled a proposal for a skateboard park in Elburn because of its more than $100,000 cost. Trustees said the remaining money in the recreation fund could cover the cost, but the village might need it for other purposes because of expected financial constraints.
 
Business changes occur
            Bucking the belt-tightening trend, Party Animals expanded its business in downtown Elburn, moving in October to a larger location a couple of doors down to the former Gliddon’s Drug Store location at 116 B. Main St. There, Party Animals offers its children’s celebrations and a new coffee shop.

            The downtown lost two businesses this year, Sears and Emma’s Pub and Cantina. Emma’s gave up its liquor license in May after the Police Department cited the restaurant for illegal gambling. The Sears appliance store at 107 N. Main St., Elburn, closed in October after less than two years in business.

            Four months earlier, a longtime Elburn business changed hands. Ehlers Lawn & Recreation sold its 51-year-old family business to another John Deere dealer, Hogan Walker.

            Despite the economic downturn, Walgreens continued with its plan to build on the northeast corner of Route 38 and Route 47. The store is expected to open this spring.

            Likewise, two planned developments pushed forward, Keslinger Plaza and Elburn Station. Village officials in September approved design plans for the first phase of Keslinger Plaza, a commercial development whose site is at Keslinger Road and Route 47. Elburn Station, a Sho-Deen Inc. development, received Village Board approval of its concept plan in July.

Whistle ban measure approved
            In April, village trustees agreed to pursue the least costly method to silence train whistles in the village in compliance with federal safety regulations. They decided installing wayside horns at the First Street and Route 47 rail crossings were the solution. The wayside horns will cost an estimated $100,000 per crossing, compared to $400,000 for a previous proposal—to install a center barrier of pylons at the First Street crossing, village engineers said.

            “It won’t be a quiet zone, but it will be a better situation than we have now,” village trustee Craig Swan said.
 
When it rains, it pours
            More economic uncertainty faced the village after unusually heavy rains in September led to sewer system backups in the village. The village is conducting a study of residential sewer systems to determine the cause and potential cost of resolving the situation. 

            The village’s new public works superintendent, John Nevenhoven, will be among village staff members working on the study. Village trustees hired Nevenhoven in September to replace Art Sanchez, whom they asked to retire four months earlier, saying they needed someone more experienced in the position. Nevenhoven was assistant village manager in Huntley from 2004 to 2005. The village is paying Nevenhoven $78,500, compared to Sanchez’ $88,993 final salary.
 
Hold-ups hit home
            Citing possible financial hardship on the part of the robbers, FBI statistics show that recently, bank hold-ups have risen significantly. An Elburn heist was among several area bank robberies this year in towns including Union, Huntley and Campton Hills.

            Thanks to the FBI, the village of Elburn did not have to bear the entire cost and burden of investigating the bank robbery that happened March 25 at Fifth Third Bank. Elburn police and the FBI are continuing to cooperate in trying to apprehend the “Backpack Bandit.”

            “We are just still waiting for some lab reports. The case is still under investigation,” Elburn Police Chief Jim Linane said Monday. “We’re still making progress, but it’s slow.”